Thursday, March 23, 2006

Konpeito

What’s truly baffling in the whole confectionery world is that most sweets are made from the same ingredients. Yet the processes applied to them and the combinations can yield vastly different results. The Bunny Basket Eggs reviewed last week are an excellent example of sugar done wrong.

imageKonpeito (or Kompeito) is just sugar, and done so well. These little rocks, about the size of a pea and simply rock sugar with a little food coloring. And when you compare iit to those awful marshmallow Easter eggs, it makes no sense.

If you ever saw Spirited Away, you may have seen this candy. They’re little multi-faceted sugar crystal lumps that look like three dimensional stars.

There’s not much else to say about them except that they’re sweet and cute. If you’re looking for a special little something exotic for an Easter basket, these might fit the bill, the packaging is pink and pretty and of course the little pastel morsels of sugar are, well, rock candy. And rock candy rocks. You can even pick up a package and use it when you serve tea or coffee as a cuter version of the old sugar cubes.

See also: CandyAddict.com review, JunkFoodBlog has more on the cultural significance and limited edition versions and Wikipedia has a full entry including the references to Kompeito in media.

Name: Konpeito
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Kasugai
Place Purchased: Mitsuwa Marketplace (Little Tokyo, LA)
Price: $1.39
Size: 2.64 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Hard Candy, Japan, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:39 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I remember buying rock candy every time I went to Knott’s Berry Farm as a kid. Why, I have no idea! But it was such a novelty to me.

    On a different note, I tried a new (well, new to me) KitKat yesterday…Milkshake flavor. It’s got the malt thing going on, so I wondered if you’d seen it!

    I found it at Long’s Drugs in Tustin, so I’m sure they’re around in LA. I also tried the new Mocha Hershey bar.

    Comment by Lesley on 3/25/06 at 6:45 am #
  2. It’s kind of neat that you posted this one now. They refer to sakura flavored ones in one of the articles, and the cherry blossoms are in bloom her in DC now.

    Comment by Jamie on 3/25/06 at 6:48 am #
  3. I have always been a big fan of rock candy.  It looks so cool, and I really like the way it feels in my mouth.  I haven’t seen any for sale in a few years except for the kind that comes on a stick, I prefer the larger crystals.  I remember when I was younger, there was an article in National Geographic for Kids about how to make it at home.  I wish I could find the article again.

    Comment by John on 3/26/06 at 12:58 am #
  4. Hey if you ever find that article let me know because I would like to know how to make it at home. Also I heard that it takes 7 to 10 days to make them and they poured semi-dissolved sugar into a spinning pan called a dora.

    Comment by Madison on 6/21/06 at 8:05 am #
  5. Cybele's avatar

    John - it shouldn’t be too hard to make.

    Madison - usually you have to boil the sugar and water together to get rid of any crystals, then use a sugar soaked (and dried) string for the seed crystals.

    Try this link.

    Comment by Cybele on 6/21/06 at 8:10 am #
  6. In Chanoyu (“tea ceremony”), there is a style called Chabako that involves serving tea out of doors in summer. Cha-bako means tea box, and the utensils that are used are smaller-than-average ones which are fitted into a tea box, about the size of a shoebox.

    Because of the size limitation, Chabako uses a tiny container for sweets called furibashi. The only sweets that that the furibashi can contain are…konpeito!

    The first time I ever saw konpeito, it was in the context of tea ceremony.  I know that they’re also enjoyed simply as “candy”, but to me they’ll always have a quasi-sacramental connotation. Weird, eh?

    Comment by chamekke on 8/05/06 at 6:35 am #
  7. ur blog is really impressive i would say
    and ive been looking for a pic of this candy in ages..
    itz my fav for ages lolz..

    Comment by snow on 4/07/07 at 1:09 pm #
  8. I love these! they’re bit different consistencey than regular rock candy, and i keep a small jar on my desk at work.

    I was also wondering if anyone has tried the “higher end” version of these that are made by hidemi.

    Most recently i’ve bought these from http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com at around a dollar a bag, they offer discounts for bulk orders too.

    Comment by Erica on 5/11/07 at 3:14 am #
  9. I have tried these before at a local sanrio store, there was a small Hello Kitty version that I quite enjoyed, they were like little rock candies. They’re exactly like konpeito except the word “konpeito” isn’t mentioned anywhere on the package. raspberry

    Comment by Jen on 3/01/09 at 6:02 pm #
  10. Hey! does anyone know the recipe for these? I really wanna know how to make them.

    Comment by Yami on 11/30/09 at 7:29 am #
  11. Does anyone know wheer a Canadian might buy these?

    Comment by Alley on 5/21/10 at 6:14 pm #
  12. Alley - if you are lucky enough to be near any Japanese grocery stores, they *might* stock them.

    I live in Canada, but none of the Asian stores stock these… so I buy mine on eBay. Do a search on both spellings (konpeito, kompeito) and you’ll find some. The kind that seems to be most commonly sold is Kasugai.

    Comment by chamekke on 5/21/10 at 7:17 pm #
  13. love it so good

    Comment by d on 11/05/13 at 12:09 am #
  14. Eh, my local candy store got these in stock a week ago so I caved in to my desires from my middle school days of wanting to try these.

    I’d say regular rock candy still tastes better. They may be wrapped in a beautiful, cute package but they taste like flavorless sugar. The texture is mildly interesting, sort of like having a small “knucklebone” (or “jack” as some call it) rolling around on your tongue, but other than that a very boring candy.

    I was hoping the colors meant they were going to be at least slightly different flavors, but they all taste the exact same.

    Definitely not “worth it” if you ask me, they’re hardly sweet even for the sugar taste. (I’ve had sweeter-tasting old hard candy, to be honest.) Pocky is a better Japanese treat in my opinion: it’s cheaper, much tastier, and lasts longer than a candy bar with less of the calories per serving. Plus, it comes in several different flavors. (I’ve been meaning to try matcha [“green tea”] flavor for a while now while it’s still in stock at my local candy store.)

    Comment by Song on 12/31/13 at 1:24 pm #

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